Without any doubt Gurgaon has earned the status of an international city.
Some factors have worked in favour of the city which is a sought-after destination for MNCs. These are its proximity to the international airport and national highway 8, and the absence of organised crime unlike in Noida.
Despite these plus points, basic infrastructure in Gurgaon is bad compared with cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Chandigarh or even our nearest neighbour Noida. Good roads, proper water and power supply, and clean drains are missing.
It is confusing why these areas are not improved although a major chunk of the state’s revenue comes from this city. Hardly 10% is spent on infrastructure.
Gurgaon crossed the infancy stage in 2003-04. It was when the ‘mall culture’ started and Huda was planning wider roads and bigger drains.
And from 2005 to 2007 the city saw a massive real estate boom and became a top investment hub. But things turned bad due to political interference.
Most contracts for infrastructure projects were given to dubious operators who were related to politicians.
Then the government increased the ‘density norms’ for private developers, who then built more housing units despite shortage of basic amenities in the area concerned.
The ugly truth that few people know is that the drainage system of the Millennium City has not been laid till date. Private developers depend on groundwater extraction as the government has failed to give canal water.
Gurgaon is also dependent on the Union government’s initiatives. But the city has failed to provide a DTC-type service for residents. This is a very crucial facility. It was also DMRC that changed the way Gurgaon residents travel, while the Haryana government is still grappling with basic public transport facilities.
The state government should improve the infrastructure before it is too late. Other Indian cities are fast catching up and perhaps, we should learn from Noida.
(Dr Prem Verma is a former Huda administrator and is currently additional commissioner (customs) in at IGI Airport.)